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UN chief visits flood-stricken Pakistan

First cholera case confirmed as fears for disease epidemic grow.
Aug 15th 2010, 12:50 PM 255 0

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL Ban Ki-moon arrived in Pakistan today to visit regions devastated by severe flooding. Ki-moon has urged international governments to commit further funds to the aid effort.

Twenty million people have been made homeless and at least 1,600 killed by the flooding already described by the UN as being one of the world’s worst disasters. The UN has appealed for $460 million from international donors to help Pakistan in coping with the flooding.

Fears that diseases such as cholera and malaria could spread quickly among the survivors of the flood are growing after the first cholera case was confirmed yesterday. Containing a cholera outbreak is a priority of aid workers responding to the flood crisis.

Donor fatigue?

Aid agencies have echoed the UN chief’s call for emergency funding, saying that the response needs to be stepped up. Aid organisations say that conditions in Pakistan are deteriorating quickly and current resources are inadequate.

Ireland’s Oxfam director, Jim Clarken, said that the situation is worsening and the disaster requires a huge response:

The rains are continuing and each hour that passes the flooding is multiplying misery across the entire country. Swathes of Pakistan are still under-water and people have seen homes, shops, schools and crops flattened.

The world must not leave these people stranded. This is a mega disaster and it needs a mega response.

In comparison with the influx of aid in the wake of previous disaster, such as the Asian tsunami of 2004, the response to Pakistan’s crisis has been much slower, prompting concerns of ‘donor fatigue’ (people are tired of donating).

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US drone attack

A US drone attack on militant targets in Pakistan’s volatile Waziristan region has killed 13 Taliban fighters, according to the Times of India. Six other militants were injured in the attack.

The US, which is pushing Pakistan in its battle against the Taliban, had suspended the missile attacks due to the country’s severe flooding and this was the first such attack this month.

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